Abonos – morta is a very specific material. The trunk (or root) of oak which lay under the ground for thousands of years, having been washed by the river water and precipitated with mineral is an ideal material for pipes. Percentage of minerals is considerable, reaching up to 12%, which makes abonos especially resistant to burning, and thousand-year- long washing erased all traces of tannin, resin and similar ingredients, giving a completely neutral taste during tobacco smoking. To tell the truth, this is no material for beginners. Abonos is hard to carve, some parts can be supple while others extremely hard, the percentage of hidden flaws in material is huge, which all may cause the pipe during its final production stages to crack, and dozens of hours of work to be in vain. On the other hand, finalized piece is beautiful, the structure of wood can be strikingly stunning – unique, and pipe smoking is a special pleasure. Tobacco when smoked yields neutral taste, positively neutral, of course.
It is completely wrong to compare the carving pipes from morta with making pipes from briar. Of course there are many common points in the process of pipe making, but it is crucial specifics of morta wood. The best example is drilling hole through the shank, which is connected to the chamber. Hardness of morta material and its difference of homogeneity making drilling extremely difficult and imprecise. For this reason it could happen that the hole itself is not precisely centered. In my works is tolerated if the hole is offset by the width of one diameter of hole. Such a pipe is smoke without any problem. Morta is very hard wood. Mostly of my hand tools and drills are for metal, not wood.
Today there is a relatively small number of pipemakers who make pipes of morta; to purchase quality material is much too complicated, the processing of material is difficult with a relatively high portion of discard.
History of morta (Bog oak ) pipes
Morta pipes are not “new invention”
In the Peterson catalogue from 1906, this renowned company offers Bog Oak pipes.
More about this history product you can find HERE
The modern Morta pipe was reborn due to the efforts, Trevor Talbert when he lived in France, Paolo Becker in Italy, myself and some other carvers.
Working with Morta is very different from briar and demands the use of specialized machinery and different techniques. That is why few well known pipe makers who have ventured into this territory have rarely done as well as with their briar pipes.
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